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Insight Meditation as a Way of Life. By Du Wayne Engelhart.

     Insight meditation is the mental development (bhāvanā) of insight (vipassanā), that is, direct firsthand seeing into the workings of the mind and into the nature of the world (in-sight). It can be shown that insight meditation relates to situation after situation in our daily lives. Indeed, it relates to every situation. If the change from concentration meditation to insight meditation is continuous and natural, so is the change from insight meditation as a once-in-while activity to that of a continual way of living day in and day out. Insight meditation is a way of life.

     Meditation is not just going to a retreat at the temple. It is not just going to our meditation room at the end of the day. It is not just walking along the path we have laid out in the woods. These are all wholesome activities, but meditation does not end there. We must live all the time in a meditative way if we are to get rid of suffering in our lives. Our meditation practice should flow like a steady stream, not drip like a leaky faucet.

     Whatever we do, we meditate. If we are driving the car to work on the interstate highway early in the morning we meditate. If we are sitting through a boring biology class at school, we meditate. If we are shopping at the mall looking for a pair of shoes, we meditate. If we are at home on the sofa on a Sunday afternoon watching a football game on television, we meditate. If we are talking to our mother on the phone about the weather back home, we meditate. If we are eating leftover macaroni and cheese for lunch, we meditate. If we are helping our children with their homework, we meditate. If we are searching the lnternet looking for cheap airline tickets, we meditate. If we are lying on the beach reading a book, we meditate. Moment by moment we meditate, no matter what.

     How do we meditate? We live our life of meditation by using the tools that we have. These are the tools developed in our practice to deal with the world as it continuously presents itself to us. We bring our mindfulness (sati) to all the situations in our moment-by-moment living. Our mindfulness is the vehicle for the quick delivery of wisdom (pañña). This is how we provide for our needs in the face of the world. Our wisdom is developed as we continue to gain insights into the workings of our mind and of the world. The delivery of wisdom by mindfulness is possible because of the focus concentration (samādhi) gives us. The concentrated mind is steady and firmly fixed on each object before it. All three - mindfulness, wisdom and concentration - function together to help keep us problem-free.*

     In Buddhism, Enlightenment is the highest spiritual reality available to human beings. However, the achievement of Enlightenment is not possible without insight meditation, vipassanā. Insight meditation opens up the possibility of Enlightenment. But this is not insight meditation as a once-in-a-while   kind of thing. Rather, it is insight meditation as a continuous way of life.**

* If we keep ourselves problem-free, we keep our mind void. See Venerable Varasak Varadhammo. Suffering and No Suffering (Hinsdale, Il. Buddhadharma Meditation Center , 1966), p. 245: "It is possible for our mind to remain in the neutral or 'void' State..., even while performing external duties using our body and mental factors. By this we mean, each duty we perform can be carried-out with a neutral or void mind...: Eating with a void mind. | Reading a book with a void mind. | Talking on the phone with a void mind. | Instructing our children with a void mind. | Driving our car with a void mind. | Going shopping with a void mind. | Participating in sports with a void mind. | Practicing sitting meditation with a void mind. | Practicing Anapanasati with a void mind...''

** ''Insight Meditation as a Way of life" is excerpted from Insight Meditation in Theravada Buddhism: A Brief Introduction, by Du Wayne Engelhart, Wat Thai Washington., D.C, May 30, 2013. The selection has been edited slightly by the author to make it more accessible to Thai readers.


At the 37th Annual Meeting of the Council of Thai Bhikkhus in the U.S.A., held in Wat Thai Washington ,D.C., on June 8, 2013, a seminar on vipassana took place. A publication about it, 'Report on Vipassana Meditation', (compiled, edited and written), by Mr Du Wayne Engelhart contains the article above. During the seminar he very kindly agreed with the publication of his work on this website, for which Wat Dhammapateep is very thankfull to him.

Insight Meditation as a Way of Life is translated on the Dutch part of this website [Translation WV]





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